How to support Rural Action

Rural Action helps local communities thrive through the support of our members. Your generous donations help Rural Action continue programming, education and outreach in our region. The first $20 of your donation is applied towards membership dues; above and beyond this amount will be considered a tax-deductible gift to the organization. We accept gifts of all sizes, large and small. Please give what you can afford. Your support makes a difference!

Donations are made through Paypal, a trusted online secure server. You do not need a paypal account to make a donation. To apply your donation in honor or memory of another individual, a note may be added on the “review donation” page.

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An appeal from a Rural Action member

John painting Rural Action’s Conference Room in 2017.

I moved to Athens County more than forty years ago from Northeastern Ohio to work for Ohio University. During my early years here, I was an avid runner and would often run on country roads and trails in the rural areas of the county. I was taken aback by the condition of the streams in the area and the many dumpsites I would pass. I often thought that I would like to be able to do something about the many environmental issues that I found around me. In 2008, as I was approaching retirement, I started thinking about how fortunate I had been to live in such vibrant place and how I might give back to a community that had been so good to me. I knew that my goal was to do something that would have an impact in rural Ohio. I was approached by a former Rural Action Board Member to consider taking a position on the Board. After reviewing information about the organization, I felt that Rural Action fit my interests and that I could give back in a way that would assist rural areas here in Appalachian Ohio. I was a member of the Rural Action Board for six years and have continued to remain involved with the organization in a number of different ways.

While on the Board, we accomplished much together; we established the zero waste program; we purchased and grew the Chesterhill Produce Auction; we strengthened the environmental education program, the sustainable agriculture and forestry program, and the watershed program; and we helped help find a new home for the organization, the Kuhre Center for Rural Renewal.

What impressed me the most about Rural Action and its work and endeared the organization to me was how they take a big picture look at all that they get involved in. When Rural Action was thinking about buying the Chesterhill Produce Auction one of the first things the staff discussed was wealth creation in rural communities. They considered the entire local food economy — how to grow food production, thus growing the produce auction, growing the buyer base, looking at wholesale and retail markets, and distribution methods. In short, Rural Action did its homework, minimizing its risk. It was right then that I knew that Rural Action was a good fit for me and was and would continue to have a significant impact in the region.

The opportunity that I had to be involved in providing direction to this really fine organization has been the most fulfilling and meaningful part of my professional life. For that reason and to play a small part in helping move Rural Action toward sustainability, I am going to make a year-end gift to Rural Action. I encourage you to join me.

John Kotowski


The best way to get involved with Rural Action is to become a member. Member support and participation make our programs possible. Member committees initiate Rural Action projects, and membership dues and donations ensure that they continue. Members are encouraged to volunteer their time and talents through a range of committees and projects in their communities or around special interests like energy or land restoration. Members also elect the Rural Action Board of Directors and stay up to date through newsletters and electronic communication.

For information about how to start a committee or a membership chapter in your community, call Executive Director Michelle Decker at 740-677-4047 Ext.19.

Member benefits include:

  • Copies of the Rural Report and Annual Report
  • A subscription to the Rural Rambler, our E-Newsletter
  • Member rates on workshops and events
  • Reduced prices on select merchandise
  • Annual Meeting Voting Privileges

Giving Society

The Rural Action Giving Society was established in 2004 to create a more sustainable funding structure for Rural Action and give community members an opportunity to contribute to the organizations work on a long-term basis.

The Giving Society consists of Gifts of Community ($10,000 for five years), Gifts of Action ($5,000 for five years), Gifts of Hope ($1,000 for five years) and Multi-Year Gifts.

If you are interested in joining the Giving Society and making a multi-year pledge to help sustain our organization in its work to create thriving communities and healthy environments in Appalachian Ohio, please contact Debbie Phillips: 740-677-4047 or